Poor communication is the first reason couples broke up.
According to 100 mental health professionals, communication problems are the most common factor that leads to divorce..
None of us would want to see our relationship fail. That’s why it’s better to prevent it. Maybe you get along well with your partner. You have shared values, shared interests and love each other very much.
Sometimes, however, they get on your nerves. You start endless arguments in which you never end up satisfied. You both think you are in the right, yet tension fills the room.
We all know that communication is key to any success. We know that for a relationship to work, we need to talk to each other. We need to express our needs.
But often, it seems that’s not enough. Why?
Did you knew that if you feel that sometimes there’s a wall between you two, maybe it’s because you have two different communication styles, but you’ve never realized it.
Communication is the solvent of all problems, communication skills are the foundation for personal development. — Peter Shepherd
This article will analyze the two main types of communication and how to improve those differences for thriving in your relationship.
The Two Types of Communicator
According to Andrea Donderi’s theory, there are only two main macro groups of communicators that we all fall into.
I first read about this concept on Reddit, and it was truly eye-opening for my relationship. Talking about it with my boyfriend, we realized that all our discussions started from misunderstandings based on these patterns.
I tend to be very direct, he’s more subtle, and I’m not particularly good at picking up on his cues.
For example, if I work for long hours, I ask him to make me something quick to eat. He never asks me anything, but sometimes when he’s the one who comes home late and doesn’t find anything ready, he gets irritated. But he didn’t ask me. How could I know that he wanted something to eat?
This is a classic case of Ask Culture meets Guess Culture.
Keep reading to discover the communication style you fall into.
The Asker and The Guesser
People who are part of the Asker culture usually come from a similar family or culture. If you were raised in a family where you could ask your parents to go to a party or to the movies, knowing that the answer could be yes or no.
Askers are not afraid to ask directly for favors, help, or even a raise.
They believe that there is nothing wrong in simply asking, so they just do it.
People in this category simply state what they would need; they put it out there and are not shocked in front of a rejection.
For example, I’m fully capable of cooking dinner for myself. My request to my boyfriend was not an assumption from my point of view, just a question.
In some families, you grow up with the expectation that it’s OK to ask for anything at all, but you realize you might get no for an answer. This is Ask Culture.
But Guessers have a tough time understanding that the Asker really thinks this way.
If you’re a Guesser, you hear the question as an expectation. When a friend asks if they can sleep at your place for a few days, you don’t hear it as a question that you can decline. You live it as a pretended one.
In Guess Culture, you avoid putting a request into words unless you’re pretty sure the answer will be yes. Guess Culture depends on a tight net of shared expectations.
So, what can we do about it? Do we even have a chance of building a strong relationship when such differences arise?
How to Make an Asker-Guesser Relationship Work
When love is strong, we willingly came up with everything in our power to improve the couple’s well-being.
If you are an Asker and your partner isn’t, it will help to be even more evident when you make a request. Expressing verbally that the other person is free to accept or not will make them feel less obliged to you.
Don’t assume that everyone understands that a direct question is always free of expectations. Try to ask things in a more relaxed situation and using a calm tone.
On the other hand, if you are a Guesser and your partner is an Asker, you could practice asking more questions out loud. Starting small, and gaining try after try more confidence.
Maybe you feel neglected and unhappy simply because your partner is not treating you the way you would like. Not all people have the sensitivity of Guessers. Try asking more about the things you would like. A massage, more time together, a picnic! Remember to try to control your emotions when the answer is not what you hoped for.
We can’t divide all of humanity into two categories. That would be reductive compared to all the beautiful nuances of behavior.
Personally, though, after coming across this theory, I found it very funny to make a mental list of my friends and family and understand a lot more about their culture and mental process.
Don’t assume your partner knows about everything you expect in a relationship. Let him know. A relationship should be based on communication, not on assumption.
It’s merely a matter of learning a few terms that are part of each other’s culture. Sometimes, it will seem as hard as learning a different language. The more time spent together, the more the process will be easier and more intuitive.
Previously published on medium
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